Melle and Sherry go to Mars!

This evening Sherry and I attended the latest PI lecture – Mission to Mars: Still Roving on the Red Planet.

My favourite so far, I think. Definitely science, but no string theories or quantum anything. Translation: fully accessible to Melle. Dr. John Grant, the presenter, from the Smithsonian is delightful. His enthusiasm for the subject matter is quite obvious, and he’s both thoroughly engaging and a total geek. Very high dork factor. And he likes ice cream. 🙂

The discussion of what the rovers are made up of, how they moved, how they chose where to send them, and how they’ve kept them going was really interesting (they’re two years into what was planned to be 90-day missions – go go Gadget Engineering!). However, it was the geology and the visuals that really fascinated me. Some of the imagery (from cameras made here in Waterloo at Dalsa!) was absolutely spectacular, not just in terms of the amount of information it provides, but from a sheerly aesthetic standpoint.

The mission was launched in conjunction with the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, and if you hit that link, you can see some of the kinds of images he showed us. The dunes and panorama shots were the most impressive.

The next lecture is Warped Passages, by Prof. Lisa Randall from Harvard. It’s about dimensions and particle physics and string theory and all those things that totally get Sherry hot and bothered but that require me to wait for analogies, often involving cats. 🙂

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